Life without a Project Manager

Without PM

Life without a Project Manager

“The story of a nightmare”

The interview went very well with the Managing Director and the Support Team Lead. I had high hopes that I would get this job. I didn’t hear from the company for the next few days so I called the company to show my frustration as I was sure, by that time, that I was not selected for this job. To my surprise, they replied with the news that I have been selected for the job and can start in a few days. 

It was a small software development company but despite that I was happy to get the job. I joined the office on the agreed date. It was a small office spanned over two floors and had separate small cabins for each individual. The office boy gave me a chair to sit on and asked me to wait as other than a couple of developers, there was no one in the office. I waited for a couple of hours before some more colleagues reached the office. During the waiting time, I did manage to gather some basic level information, from the office boy, about the office like generally when people come in and leave the office and their roles etc.  

Finally the support lead, who was in the interview, came in and asked me to wait till he calls the company’s Managing Director and discuss with him what needs to be done about me. After  a short while the Support Manager showed me my seat which was actually a small adjustment alongside his desk by adding a small chair beside his table. 

As I was selected to work in the support department, my first instructions were to observe what the Support Lead was doing and how he performs his tasks. The Support Lead was kind enough to advise me to take notes and prepare proper documentation so it can be used as a user manual for any other new comer. 

The Managing Director also joined the office in the evening and briefly greeted me. Then he went about his own business. I spent 3 days “observing” and “learning” from the Support Lead and prepared an instruction manual as well. Next day I learned that the Support Lead is on vacation and I will be on my own for the next few days. 

What was my Job Description or what I had to do was not clear as yet, not to me atleast. I just kept on going through the document I had prepared and also sent it to the Managing Director to share my efforts. I never got any response as feedback or acknowledgement from the Managing Director. 

One day, as I was just waiting for any instruction from anyone, I got a call from the company’s Chairman. He asked me what task and client I am working on? I was fair in my reply and informed that I haven’t got any work or client assigned to me and also details of what I have been doing since my joining day. The Chairman didn’t seem amused by my response but didn’t say anything to me. My guess is that he made some “important” calls after that because shortly after that the Managing Director came to the office and started guiding me on the document I was working on. 

Next day, the Managing Director assigned me to prepare a UAT template for a client to test and sign off their delivery. It was assigned to me through an email with the Chairman in copy as well. I replied to the email to remind myself that I will be more than happy to do the work assignment but it would be great if I can get some training on the product and also reminded that so far I have not seen or accessed the product. My reply seems to make the Chairman very angry as he called me to give me a 5 minutes overview of the product and instructed me to proceed with the assignment. 

I explored the product on my own and got some help from the developer sitting next to me despite him being very reluctant to do so. During some discussion, I asked the developer what he was working on and how his work is planned so that he is aware about his assignment? The developer responded that they work in the “Agile” model. He further elaborates that he leaves home for the office with some assignment in mind but when he is almost half-way through his day, he gets assigned to something new. Since no priority is defined, he has to work on the latest assignment. 

I somehow managed to prepare the required UAT document, based on my learning and understanding over the last few days. I thought that it would be a good idea if anyone from the Quality Assurance team could review the document. The developer, next to me, enlightened me that there is no specific QA resource and the developers test their own work while the Support Team works with clients for UAT sessions. 

One day, one of my friends, who happens to be the first cousin of the Managing Director, visited the office. During some discussions with me and the Managing Director, he talked about the Project Management Department in the company. The Managing Director responded that they don’t think the company needed any PMO or Project Manager because they have very good processes in place and work is proceeding perfectly. He also said that I could also endorse and confirm his views based on my experience with the company so far. I could not have agreed more. 

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